Lottery bonanza is in fact foul play

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There’s a new game in town but cheating is at the heart of the action, according to trading standards officers and police.

This newspaper has featured numerous warnings about a scam which takes the guise of a Spanish-based lottery.

Now con-artists have pitted their wits yet again to craft a plausible looking document which takes the name of glamorous sporting tournaments in vain.

Bearing logos associated with the World Cup and even the Olympics, these have been sent to a number of local homes.

A document claiming to be a FIFA based prize draw is arguably the most convincing.

And despite its recent difficulties, running a fraudulent lottery is not an accusation that can be squared at the Zurich-based organisation.

It invites ‘‘winners’’ to submit bank details to collect cash prizes but of course, this is a means of extorting cash- not dishing it out.

Trading standards officer Peter Fergie said: “This is the new one that is out there.

“We have been inudated with these letters. They look convincing and seem reputable because they are supposedly tied in with these big competitions.’’

His colleague Paul Bannister said: “This is a scam which operates across the UK, and residents should not respond.

“Anyone who does make contact will be asked for money as an upfront payment to enter the prize process or for their personal details which can then be used to commit identity fraud.

“FIFA have confirmed that they have no connection with this letter and it is in no way related to the 2014, 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup tournaments, nor any other FIFA events.’’

Police have also been called in - when indeed the crime is actually reported.

A massive embarrassment factor on the part of the duped ‘winner’ can of course mean that the crime is underpublicised.

And naturally it is usually vulnerable people who suffer, as they would take the scam at face value and pay a terrible price.

Chief Inspector David Bruce said: “It can be convincing but there is never a prize.

The con men will exploit vulnerable people and the elderly in particular. ‘‘

He also had this message for our our readers who may be unaware that a loved one has been taken in.

“Please look after your older friends and family. If you receive one of these letters its only value is compost via the recycling box.”